I used to think I was going to be a fiction writer. To that end, I wrote a number of mediocre short stories. I only have a few of them in electronic format, so it may be quite a while (years) before I get around to getting more of them up here. Hopefully I will, since they don't do anyone except me any good lurking in my overstuffed green folder, whereas here on the Internet someone might come across one and be entertained by it.
There are basically two phases to my writing. The first, lasting up until the end of my freshman year in college and having its height during the Creative Writing class I took in my senior spring of high school, was largely fantasy. I had harbored dreams of writing a fantasy novel ever since reading Lord of the Rings in elementary school, but most of my attempts didn't go anywhere (though I still have two more-or-less finished but poor quality manuscripts hanging around). A short story was sometimes an attempt to explore a world -- it was the world, not the story, that was the driving force -- I would have liked to give a longer treatment to. My second phase, largely coinciding with the Creative Writing class I took the fall of my sophomore year of college, constitutes what I think of as my "Slate Hill" stories. The professor forbade us to write fantasy or science fiction, so I based my work on a fictional town fairly transparently inspired by my hometown of Palmerton, PA. Many of the characters and scenarios are also inspired by things I've seen there, but none of them are meant to constitute any sort of commentary on the people involved -- I just took real events as jumping-off points for creating fictional ones.
The Red Cloak
My goal in writing this was to do a deeper character than those in my earlier stories. Unfortunately, I wound up more with a nervous tic and elaborate battle scenes.
The Holy Sword
The world this story is set in is about as stereotypical for fantasy as you can get. I like to think that setting aside world-building questions allowed me to do a better job of plot and characterization than I'd been able to manage previously
A Gift From He Who Finds The Waters
I had high hopes for the world this story is set in, which is pretty clearly based on pre-Colombian Andean culture. Unfortunately I never came up with a longer story to tell in it.
The Lost One
This tale of post-apocalyptic Peru was the final project for my freshman seminar, Basic Themes In Science Fiction. The local color (which I don't claim any high standard of accuracy for) came from another class I was taking on the culture of Peru. I had a bit of fun with the language in this one, doing things like finding key Quechua words (thanks to Gary Urton for the translation of "chinkan") and picking names that Peruvians would see as city-folk names or country-folk names.
Left, Right, Left
This was the second, and best, of my Slate Hill stories. Prof. Becker told me he never expected to read a story with the line "He had a hankering for some pierogies."
This story originally ended with a cutesy little line about "be prepared." Luckily the other people in the class convinced me to re-write the last scene.
This is the last of the Slate Hill stories (so far), though it's set in the Northern Territory of Australia. Liz Hurd was a friend I met down under, who asked to be put in one of my stories.
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